Fed up of 22-hours long blackouts daily, residents of Koh, Chitral, protest

By Gul Hamaad Farooqi

CHITRAL: Hundreds of people of Union Council Koh held a protest demonstration at Moorilasht. Addressing the protest desmonstration, the speakers said that despite the construction of a 107 megawatt power plant by WAPDA, 2MW power plant by Border Rural Support Program and a 4MW plant by the Provincial Department of Electronics PEDO (Pakhtun Khwa Energy Development Organization), the region over 25000 people have been without electricity for the last one year.

Electricity was supplied to this area from the power plant since its establishment  but in the disastrous floods of 2015, the Reshon Power Plant was also destroyed due to the flood. During this time, the area was supplied with electricity by Pesco. Now last year when the Reshun power plant was rebuilt, this area was once again plunged into darkness and neither PESCO nor PEDO is ready to give us electricity, although we pay the electricity bill regularly and there is no concept of electricity theft here. The speakers alleged that PEDO has failed to pay  20 billion rupees to the Peshawar Electric Supply Company, due to which PESCO in retaliation is no longer ready to  supply electricity to PEDO consumers.

The speakers said that there is a dispute between PESCO and PEDO over line losses and tariff i.e. electricity rates. The speakers severely criticized the elected members of the assembly from Chitral saying they come to us again and again at the time of voting, but they have no interest in solving our long-standing problem.

The representatives of all the political and religious parties participated in the  protest on non political basis  under only one agenda and recorded their protest that we should be given electricity.

Speakers said that we have called many meetings and met the administration officials and requested them repeatedly but there was no hearing on our request. They said that there are more than 25000 people living in this area but here day and night  we get only two hours of electricity and 22 hours of blackout. 

In the protest meeting, slogans against the PEDO Department were also raised. Maulvi Abdul Rehman, Abdul Ghaffar Lal, Maulana Akhunzada Rahmatullah, Syed Jalaluddin, Safdar Ali Kash, Khawaja Amanullah, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and lawyers also expressed their displeasure.  They  warned in the meeting that if electricity is not provided to this area within 24 hours, they will be forced to cut all the electricity lines passing through here and will be forced to suspend the electricity supply to other areas as well. They  warned that if our legitimate and genuine demand was not fulfilled , we will be forced to take stern  action including blocking Booni, Shandur road and sit-in dharna along with women and children. The assistant commissioner of Chitral met the people responsible for the protest meeting and assured them that electricity will be provided within 24 hours. The protest ended on the surety of AC Chitral. 

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